Statement in recognition of International Human Rights Day

Dec. 10, 2020

Statement in recognition of International Human Rights Day

This year, the United Nations theme for International Human Rights Day – Recover Better – Stand up for Human Rights – is based on the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have heard throughout the year that gaps in human rights protections and issues faced by members of equity groups have been magnified by the pandemic. Inequalities that have always been a sad part of our society are getting worse, not better.  We often want a good news story, and while this story isn’t good right now, it is ours to write as we plan our return to the workplace.  

Within the government departments where we work, the phrase “culture change” has echoed.  However, each time has been said, it is quickly followed with claims that we are making only a marginal improvement. In 2021, we have an opportunity as workers that we have never had before. Most of us have left the workplace, and we get to decide how we return.

We can say no to discrimination, to harassment and to violence, and say yes to equity and to actions that are taken to correct past wrongs. The employer talks about culture change, but it is within our power.  In honor of the UN theme for this year’s international Human Rights Day we reaffirm that all of us have rights and not just a select few. The formula is not complicated, check your biases and treat people with the respect they deserve.

GSU Equity Committee